tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC May 29, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
you get tonight's last word. i want to thank everyone at home for watching. "chris hayes" starts right now. high noon for president obama. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this unfinished disaster, this ticking grenade, if you will, at the veterans administration. timing is everything in politics and shows how a leader makes decisions, shows decisiveness, confidence, sure-footedness. the longer president obama holds this grenade in his hand, the more dangerous this situation becomes. i'm talking politics here. when a leader confronts a crisis, he needs to act, needs to be seen acting. what action has president obama taken here to deal with the manifest disaster at the va? the disaster of four-month waiting times covered up by claims of one-month waiting times.
is the commander in chief going to stop this? is he going to reduce these waiting lines to what you get from a private practice doctor? is he going to cut those months down to weeks or even down to days? is he? does that look like what he's doing? or does it look like he's trying to figure out a way to avoid hurting general shinseki? look like he's trying to do damage control for himself? let me repeat. does it look right now to you, friend or foe of this president, like he's acting to radically correct the problem at the va or that he doesn't know what to do exactly? because if it looks bad to his supporters, what do you think it looks like to his enemies? what i think it looks like to his enemies is a real scandal to wrap around and give real weight to the questionable scandals, benghazi, irs, fast and furious, that they have already have clutched in their excited and happy hands. let's get at it tonight, somebody better. bob kerrey is a medal of honor winner and was a patient of the va for roughly nine years after he left the vietnam war.
he served as democratic senator from nebraska. senator brown is a democrat from ohio and member of the senate's veteran affairs committee. senator kerry, we've had you on before. if you're president of the united states and the va is screwed up in a systemic way and the inspector general has said so and you said once i hear from the inspector general, i'm going to act, isn't it time to act? >> yes, i think it's long overdue. i think it's evidence way before the arizona case that the health care system for the va is not being managed correctly. unfortunately, the attitude has been, you know, we've got it all figured out, don't worry about it, there aren't any problems and the evidence shows to the contrary. the arizona i.g. examination is appalling and should result in -- i think in immediate replacement. the problem is you've got to find somebody who's got credibility with congress and with the american people. i'd look for an iraq or afghan war veteran who suffered some
kind of an injury who knows the va system well and there's lots of good candidates that fit that bill. you've got to restore particularly credibility to the veterans community and with the congress, because there's lots of problems. this is not an easy system to manage. >> let me go to senator brown. you're on the veterans affairs committee. my question to you is why should the american people who are watching this thing have confidence in the va administrator shinseki who's been there through all this, who's not done anything until now apparently and seems surprised about this, and as he suggests somehow appalled by it all. if he hasn't fixed it before, if it's gone bad under his watch or continued to get worse under his watch, why would he fix it now? why would the public say, oh, this didn't i is going to get a new look at life, a new approach to the job. that's hard to believe. i think that's hard for people to buy, that this guy will solve a problem he let get this bad. that seems hard to believe. >> yeah, i see the politics of it that way, i understand that,
chris. but having the secretary of the va -- firing the secretary of the va doesn't fix this, it's obviously deeper than that, as senator kerrey said. my hat's off always to senator kerrey who understands this from the inside and outside better than any human being i know. put it in some context. ten years ago at the beginning of the iraq and afghanistan war, the previous administration and the congress basically flat lined va spending, not anticipating, not getting ready at all to scale up what we needed to do. in the last five years, we've doubled va spending. it hasn't been done right, it hasn't been done well enough, no questions there, no question about that. people that were part of this need to be accountable from whether it's in phoenix or whether it's in washington. i agree with all that. understand too, though, that in the last couple of years there have been more than a million new cases to the va, a million new people come into the system. the va just in the last year
alone had 85 million patient visits, 8 million different veterans, 8 million different veterans are in this system every year one year to the next. as senator kerrey said, it's a very difficult system to manage. it gives overwhelmingly good care. it works in so many ways on some of the toughest injuries and illnesses out there from agent orange to spinal injuries, all that, so you need that expertise. but that's no excuse for general shinseki or no excuse for the administrators and the people that may have altered records in phoenix or anywhere else. >> well, i don't get this part of it. >> chris -- >> four months, four months to see a doctor, four months. i mean i don't know if you have rotator cuff problems and you need a new hip or you've got a terrible disease that needs treatment. four months on average to see a doctor. how long does it take to get treatment if it takes four months to even meet a doctor. and then to lie that it's only a month, like it's only a month to
see a doctor. it's hard to imagine how bad. and why didn't somebody tell this to shinseki before somebody blew the whistle. >> if you were managing a private sector hospital, just a single hospital, not for profit or for profit, with that kind of waiting time, there would be an investigation of it. it's unacceptable. it doesn't have to be that way. the problem though, chris, this is a $50 billion health care system. and to manage a group of hospitals that have $50 billion in revenue, you need somebody that really knows how to do it. shinseki put somebody in charge, a wonderful guy, that doesn't know how to manage this large of a health care system. you need to really look out there, in both the not for profit and profit space and you've got to get expertise to get those numbers down to manage a health care system. if they're not able to do it, look, it may be time to say, look, we're going to give the veterans the opportunity to go wherever they want and we'll pay for it. maybe we shouldn't be operating. it's hard to run a hospital and a group of hospitals.
>> senator, you almost made it to the white house and i'm just wondering what the commander in chief in supposed to do. i'm going back to senator brown. you may be there some day. but the president of the united states is accountable to the american people because he was elected. shinseki wasn't. he's a great american probably but he hasn't elected. one guy was elected. but the guy we really voted for was the guy we're looking at right now. what i'm getting the impression of watching him right now is he's trying to figure this thing out politically. what do i do. do i fire this good man, shinseki? how do i manage the pr? is he actually fixing the problem, the president, or is he counting on shinseki to do it? is this a smart move? and i want to get back to you, senator brown, on this. should he keep a guy in there he's counting on or not? >> well, that's a question, i don't know the answer to that. >> why don't you know the answer? >> because it's the president's decision what he ask with shinseki. firing shinseki alone isn't going to fix this. >> nobody says it is, but it's a beginning.
>> fair enough. but this whole from the bottom up study -- not study, this whole from the bottom up investigation of what's happened, the waiting times are, as senator kerrey said, absolutely intolerable. the altering of any records deceiving the public in any way, all of that. i don't know if removal of shinseki solves any of that. >> let me offer an idea. this is the problem in the catholic church. you care about the people at the top. you don't care about the people at the bottom. you don't care about the altar boys, you worry about the priests. here the president is probably worried about shinseki. he should worry about the patient sitting out there now, four months he hasn't heard from a doctor. that's who he should be talking about. that's the person the president should be thinking about. not the pr of himself or the credentials of the administrator, but the person out there who served this country and has a real problem enough to go to a doctor, but no doctor will see him, even though that was part of -- isn't it the
bargain when you go into the military, you'll at least be looked at when you come home? these people aren't even being looked at, let alone treated. it's frightening. senator brown, again to you, what's the answer here besides waiting for the president to do something? what do you want him to do? >> well, i want him to understand what's wrong. i want him to understand -- i want to look at some context here of the -- >> you got an i.g. report yesterday that said that it's systemic. he said if it's systemic, he's doing something. what's he doing? he wants to hear from rob nabors his staff guy. he wants to hear shinseki's own report. those are two more reports. we have a waiting time from the president. what's the waiting time to hear from obama. is it going to be as long as the waiting time to see a doctor? >> no, of course it can't be. replacing shinseki or not, i don't have strong feelings whether he should step down, whether he should be fired, whether he should be kept. i have strong feelings on how to deal with the backlog.
>> 11 democratic senators have strong feelings, sir, and they said so. >> i understand. i have very strong feelings about what you do with the backlog. that's why i've been very involved in that. i worked with -- i traveled the state in the last few days with a navy corpsman who has been very involved with the big idea about how to deal with concussions and how you get that as part of the soldier's record from the beginning so when they go to the va, they make determinations and make it simpler and get the treatment they should get, which they're not getting now. that's up to the department of defense so it's more complicated than that. >> senator, you've got a caseworker working for your offices out in cleveland, cincinnati, good caseworker probably, good person. if he got a call and she got a call and told you, you know, i got a call from a veteran who's been waiting four months to see a doctor. his name is joe mcgee, he's from cincinnati. you would fire off a letter to the va in this instance and you'd be on that guy's tail right now. so you know what you'd do if it
was someone in your state who complained personally. so why are you so deliberative here in the sense of you don't have a strong feeling. you'd have a damn strong feeling if it was one of your constituents that complained, wouldn't you? >> i have a very strong feeling on what we do with the va and how we work to make sure whether it's the cincinnati or wade park in cleveland or dayton va or chillicothe, but i don't think -- as i said, i just don't have strong feelings of what you do with shinseki but what you do with the va overall. >> i get a feeling you'd have a feeling stronger than that if he was working for you. i tell you, if he was working for you in your senate office and this kind of calamity occurred under that person's watch, what would you do to them? >> well, i'd sit down with him and understand what had happened and if i weren't satisfied and there weren't the kind of accountability, i'd obviously ask him to step aside. that's the way this should be done. i don't know what decision he or the president will make but i want them to deal with this in the way they should with backlog all the way up to waiting times. >> last thoughts quickly,
senator kerrey. you have something you're chuckling about. i want to know what it is. >> whether on purpose or accidentally he's got a good guy in rob nabors. he needs to say to shinseki, i appreciate your service but put somebody else in charge. i'd put rob nabors in on an interim basis and then look for somebody else. it may take some radical change. we may need to say to the va if a guy waits longer than three or four weeks and you can't get him into that hospital, we're going let him go to a private sector hospital and we'll pay the bill. you can't accept these long waiting lines. you just can't. >> okay, thank you. >> it may take a radical course of action to change it. but he's got a good guy right there in rob nabors. don't make him produce a report and shinsecki produce a report. we need leadership that people trust. >> it means getting private sector hospitals involved in management too sometimes with the va. >> senator bob kerrey, senator brown, i respect you both. the hawks on the right didn't like president obama's
policy speech at west point yesterday, starting with dick cheney, no surprise there, who said the president was weak and blamed the president for not finding a way for us to still be in iraq. also, mitch mcconnell's three-card monte play on health care. he wants to repair obamacare, yet loves the health care exchange in kentucky, kynect. kynect is obamacare. another example of conservatives liking what obamacare does but not the president who delivered it. did you hear about the pakistani woman who was stoned to death by her own family for marrying the man she loved? this is something america will not accept. hillary clinton had lunch today at the white house with president obama. why did they keep it secret? this is "hardball," the place for politics.
use his executive authority to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants by 20%. a significant amount. the president's plan would set a national limit on carbon pollution from coal plants, the biggest source of carbon emissions, and would allow each state to devise its own plan to cut pollution by using renewable energy and also cap in trade programs. the president is expected to unveil the plan monday. we'll be right back.
welcome back to "hardball." president obama's big foreign policy speech yesterday at west point was a strong rebuke, as we all know now, of the hawkish world view that dominated this country under his predecessors, george w. bush. instead of emphasizing military might and rattling sabre, the president spoke of the need to engage partners around the world and to find other ways to influence events overseas other than military action. let's watch. >> i would betray by duty to you and to the country we love if i ever sent you into harm's way
simply because i saw a problem somewhere in the world that needed to be fixed. or because i was worried about critics who think military intervention is the only way for america to avoid looking weak. u.s. military action cannot be the only or even primary component of our leadership in every instance. just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail. >> looked like product placement there for those teleprompters. criticism has come from unlikely sources, including the editorial pages of "the new york times" which faulted the president for a lack of grand vision in that speech. the harshest and most simplistic came from the right wing. sean hannity took issue with the president referencing past military adventures. here's his assessment in his own language. >> while multiple scandals continue to plague the obama administration, your commander in chief decided it was an appropriate time to apologize yet again for america. >> he didn't criticize, actually
he criticized past presidents like "w." if you're not defending unnecessary disastrous military engagements -- dick cheney echoed a common refrain about the president. >> i think the perception around the world is increasingly negative, sean, but i think the main focus is on our president. he's a very, very weak president. maybe the weakest certainly in my lifetime. >> michael steele is the former chairman of the republican national committee and joan walsh is editor at large at salon, both are msnbc political analysts. a legitimate debate is coming up right now. i saw you debate and i think there's a legitimate debate here. it wasn't just "the washington post" which has gotten more hawkish than ever but it was "the new york times" that said the president didn't have a clear theme. i want joan to say, do you think the president laid out a clear
doctrine, if you will, a notion of what he's going to try to do the next two years of his administration? >> you know, i'm not going to sit here and say it was the best speech ever, chris. there were things to criticize about it. yeah, i would say there's a doctrine and the doctrine is keeping us out of unnecessary war. the doctrine is avoiding conflict where he can. the man inherited two wars, one of them completely unnecessary, and he also inherited the gearing up to another war with iran. and he has so far averted that disaster diplomatically and other ways. so i hear an overarching theme, which is i'm going to keep us -- i'm going to do my damndest to keep us out of war and i like it and so do the american people. >> michael, let's go to the vision question. did he have the vision thing? i don't know if you would agree or not. >> no, i would agree with the first part of what joan said. i don't think there was a vision thing there. i don't think there was a vision of america's role in the world. it's great to say i don't want to get us into unnecessary wars
and i'm not going to -- i would be shirking my responsibility if i sent you into harm's way for no reason, but you still need to define what the reasons are that would require you to do that. is it a multi lateral engagement with our partners around the world if they have a problem? is it in response to aggression by other countries where there's genocide taking place, as we saw bill clinton do, respond to kosovo in the 1990s. so there is no clear vision here as to exactly how you, mr. president, would see the use of military might. i agree with joan, the country is fed up with arbitrarily deciding we're going to go an engage in order to foster democracy, but they do, i think, want to still get a sense of, okay, so how do you redefine this landscape in terms of the vision when you would use that military power. >> but you know, michael -- >> i think there's a difference here. i think the president is not a passivist. >> no. >> i think dovish like i am. he doesn't like wars. he doesn't like getting stuck in
these countries. but let's not confuse him with jimmy carter. this guy is willing to kill osama bin laden. he's willing to go over there and use drones to knock people out one after another. he's ready to sit in that room and push the kill button. he's quite willing to do it so you can't call him a passivist, michael. i don't think he likes boots on the ground in terms of bringing in soldiers and we can't get them out. >> that's a key part of it, i think. >> the other thing i would say to michael is this isn't a campaign speech. this is not some untested guy laying out the obama doctrine should he be elected. we have had six years of this president. we know what his foreign policy is. we know what his national security policies are. so, yes, i can see the hungering for a bigger vision, but we know, yeah, he likes to work multi laterally. we know he does use force when he has to. we know that he likes diplomatic solutions and he was a little hawkish on libya. i think you can wonder what exactly why we went into libya still.
>> that's great on paper, but even our allies and certainly a lot of our opponents and enemies out there aren't necessarily buying the argument that you just made. i think even our allies want to see a little bit more and hear a little bit more in that regard. they want to see that the american military power -- >> give me an example where you'd put military troops right now, michael, troops on the ground. >> chris, this is not a question about okay we're going to send military folks over here, that's not the point. >> cheney is knocking him because he's not using force. >> i'm not dealing with dick cheney or dealing with anybody else. i'm talking about the president of the united states currently in office and his relationship not just with our allies but how he imposes the will and might of the united states around the world. it is great that the president will send an unmanned drone to fire on indiscriminately that kills civilians as well as the target, but it's a different conversation when you talk about actually putting boots on the ground and when, sir, would you do that. what opportunity do you see
requires that. >> why should he tell our enemies? >> 186,000 people died when we went into iraq, so the idea that other innocent people get killed during battle. don't go after him on the drones. >> see, why are you making this adversar -- i'm not being adversarial here. i'm trying to look at this objectively because i have a background in this area of foreign policy so i do know a little of what i'm talking about in terms of the vision and what people expect from the president. the president's speech yesterday fell well short of that. >> let me go with that with joan. joan, one of the concerns is that he didn't -- the president didn't illustrate, display a knowledge according to "the new york times," which is pretty pro-obama, that he didn't show an ability that he knew how to use american leverage short of fire power. he didn't seem to know there's a way to influence events without going to war. that's what the knock was from the more sophisticated attacks from "the new york times" there. >> but he did it in iran.
you know, he's done it so far in syria. nobody is totally happy with his syria policy, but we don't have boots on the ground. you know, he drew a red line there and he got a lot of criticism for that. so the other reason i think this speech is important, and i do respect michael and i'm not trying to knock michael. but the biggest single force still in the republican party, i'm not going to associate you with dick cheney, michael, i'm going to let you stand separately. i'm going to give you that respect. but it's a little bit scary because there's still a strong neocon impulse within the establishment republican party. there really is. >> here's cheney talking. by the way, cheney has access to fox. fair enough he's always on fox and always has something to say. he said obama's fault is -- it's his fault we didn't, quote, win the war in iraq, whatever that means. here it is, here's his explanation for that thinking. >> well, we would have won in iraq, i believe, if he had done what he should have done, which was to negotiate a stay-behind agreement with the iraqis so there would be a u.s. force
there, not to be heavily engaged in combat but to provide the training and support that was needed. because he failed to do that, we ended up now with the only military presence in iraq is our military attache at the embassy. what he's announced in afghanistan, going to zero force in afghanistan by 2016 totally ignores the reason why we went in there in the first place. it's as though he wasn't even around when 9/11 happened. i think it's a case that he hates to use military power. he doesn't believe it's ever justified. >> there you go. your response to that, michael. >> well, i think the first part of what the vice president said there is a legitimate point to be made. the question -- >> that we should have stayed in iraq? >> no. it's not about staying in iraq, it's about -- >> he said that's what we did wrong, we came out. >> chris, please let me make the point. the fact of the matter is we have a presence in europe 70 years after world war ii. we have a presence in korea 45,
50 years after that. so the question becomes, chris, what is the after action. how do you leave -- when you leave, what do you leave behind? >> okay. can i make a distinction. it's made all the time by the hawks. korea and germany. you know the last time a german shot an american? 1945. the war ended. >> he has bought into that since world war ii, chris. >> there's a big difference between keeping soldiers in germany, which is our ally, where nobody gets shot at and south korea where we have a border to protect and leaving our guys in harm's way in a country that's still unstable. there's a huge difference and the neocons keep getting it wrong. >> there's not a huge difference. >> yes, there is. >> it's a military presence required for a purpose. you don't just up and leave and have to come back because all the bad guys infiltrate behind you when you have not put in the stability that you need. that's all the vice president said. the president is talking about rolling people out. to what? to what end? >> the difference between
keeping troops in iraq and afghanistan and keeping them in germany is an absurd tee of a connection. >> the president has said he'll have 9800 folks left on the ground after 2016. >> to protect the embassy. >> and you think that's all they're going to do? >> well, then cheney is lying in saying that there was nobody behind. >> come on, man. >> let me tell you, you go up and check the last time an american serviceman suffered as a casualty in west berlin or berlin these days, germany these days. there isn't a war front, luckily. michael steele, thank you. >> you got it, chris. >> thank you, joan walsh. i agree with joan. up next, the incredible shrinking chris christie. this is "hardball." obviously tonight it is, the place for politics.
yeah, well, thank you. it's not -- let's not be totally unfair. it is -- i am much smaller now than i used to be, so i used to -- i used to be bigger. i'm getting smaller. yeah, i know my wife told me i have to get more new suits. >> time now for the "sideshow." that was of course new jersey governor chris christie at a town hall event yesterday receiving what seemed to be an unexpected compliment about his weight. well, christie appreciated it so much in fact that he posted a video of the exchange on his own youtube channel. next up, at an event in michigan yesterday, u.s. congressman paul ryan made what could only be described as a self-deprecating joke about how often he's mistaken for another famous politician. guess who? >> i went on this flight a week later and the flight attendants were looking at me and whispering at each other and
pointing at me, looking and pointing. finally one of them comes up to me and she says you're famous, aren't you? are you anthony weiner? i have been confused for anthony weiner twice now. i have no idea how that happens. >> now there's a case of mistaken identity that most people would want to avoid. anthony weiner, by the way, is famous for resigning from congress in 2011 amid his sex texting scandal, a habit which got him in trouble again when he was running for mayor of new york just last summer. congressman ryan described the mix-up as a humbling moment. i'd say. up next, mitch mcconnell's health care dishonesty. he wants to get rid of obamacare but not the successful state version of the program that wouldn't exist without obamacare. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
>> wow, welcome back to "hardball." that's mitch mcconnell running for his political life in kentucky against allison lundergan grimes. he beats his conservative drums with that standard line of his. he wants to destroy the affordable care act ripping it out as he said root and branch. but in kentucky the health care system established as a result of obamacare and which could not exist without obamacare is popular and it's working. that leaves mcconnell in a politically awkward position. when a reporter asked him whether kentucky's health care system, called kynect, should be dismantled, he gave this confounding answer. >> i think that's unconnected to my comments about the overall question here. >> mcconnell does not want to concede that the connection there exists between kentucky's popular system and the affordable care act created by obama, the president. the state's democratic governor said in a statement to msnbc that mcconnell, quote, either doesn't understand what the aca is or is just trying to mislead kentucky families for his political benefit at their
expense. mcconnell is playing a dishonest game here. he describes the benefits obamacare has brought to his state while attacking it in name. howard fineman, editorial director of the huffington post and msnbc political analyst and berry bacon, nbc news senior political reporter. congratulations, sir, for joining us. >> thank you, chris. >> i want to start with you because you're on deck as a full-fledged expert and senior, i love that, senior guy. i want some seniority. this thing seems to be so blatantly simple. when you ask people in polling do they like the health care system, yeah, pretty good. you say obama's name and you lose all the conservatives. i also remember "w" running for president and he said social security wasn't a federal program. well, okay, it is. is this a case of mistaken or intentional mistaken identification by mitch mcconnell? >> this is very intentional. we have an nbc poll that showed kynect is very popular in kentucky, but they still want to rebeal obamacare.
mitch mcconnell knows this, and he's doing one of the things politicians do, which is what he's saying is technically accurate. i supposed you can repeal obamacare and till have kynect exist but kynect is set up to expand medicaid and use the obamacare rules and obamacare subsidies. for him to suggest those are not related is very misleading to voters. >> so what the voters like about obama's health care he's taking credit for. and what they don't like about it, he's taking credit for opposing that. >> steve beshear, the democratic governor in kentucky, was very shrewd and smart in putting mitch on the defensive by adopting obamacare and making sure that administratively it worked pretty well and expanding medicare greatly in kentucky with obamacare money. kentucky is a poor state. there are hundreds of thousands of people who are benefitting primarily from the medicare part
of obamacare, but also the exchanges. so beshear, the democrat, has helped put mitch on the defensive on this issue. one that for many republicans is a weapon they can use. in kentucky, it's turned into something that mitch has to try to parse. the other thing that's changed, i'm sure perry's presence down in kentucky helps to underscore the point. this is a national race with national attention. every word that mitch mcconnell utters is parsed very carefully. in previous races he could run around the state slicing the baloney any way he wanted. not in this race. >> here's writing about mcconnell's dishonesty in the daily beast. the fact that aca and kynect are one and the same is obvious to anyone with a brain. the category of humans with a brain includes mcconnell. he's not that stupid. that leaves only one other choice. hypocritical. well, two choices, hypocritical and lying. he knows kynect can't exist
without the aca but he said it anyway without any concern for the truth and the hypocrisy part comes in because, well, how could we have stood up there for years saying that no american should not be permitted to get health care the obama way and he's going to strike it down the second he can, but kentuckians, they're different, they get to keep it. this is fascinating. you know, perry, i know this is part of your beat now. it's fascinating that obamacare, and that's the term we use, the president says it's his term so might as well use it, has caught on at the ground level with real people to the extent that mitch mcconnell, the arch enemy of it, is afraid to really go after it. really go after it. >> it is surprising. i spent time in kentucky talking to people newly insured and what they say is striking. one, i like my new health care, i'm going to the doctor for the first time or seeing a specialty for the first time. they say, two, i really don't like president obama. so there is that contrast. i think that's what mcconnell is trying to catch onto. i think both these candidates are treating kentucky voters like they're stupid.
mcconnell is saying sort of assumes the voters don't know the person who is for repeal is going to repeal kynect and then crimes, on the other hand, when you ask her about obamacare, change the subject or won't say her position either. ike voters in kentucky know the democratic candidate is for obamacare and the republican candidate is against obamacare. i'm not sure why either one of these people think they can trick voters or if the voters are really dumb. >> one of the concerns people have on the conservative right is that these social programs that are government run will be popular. social security turned out to be popular because it was a means test and everybody was getting it. everybody was kicking into it, according to their ability. popular program. medicare very popular among seniors. you never hear a senior saying let's get rid of medicare ever, because at that point you're finally getting something for all you put in. in this case it's the same thing we're watching. not yet, but there is evidence as in kentucky here, it's popular enough not to attack it. >> well, it's fascinating and significant in a state which as
perry says the president has a 29% approval rating. >> it ain't he they like. >> they don't like him. nevertheless, mitch is careful on the question, trying to be careful, trying to split hairs on obamacare because it's popular enough in kentucky. the special circumstance in a southern state that otherwise republicans could attack the program is that the democratic governor made it his business to make the program work. >> let me ask the political question. >> and that gives cover to grimes as she tries to work her way through. >> why doesn't alison grimes say this guy is really trying to have it this way. he's attacking the president's program but not the program. the program itself. >> she is doing that. if you've seen the last couple days, the grimes campaign, i've asked them this question, they are very nervous about defending obamacare as such. they think it's too unpopular in kentucky and they should focus on calling mcconnell old and too partisan and too washington. that's their basic strategy is to avoid obamacare. on this issue you have seen in the last couple of days say
mitch mcconnell is trying to mislead kentucky voters and they are hammering him pretty hard. this is the first time they have really invoked obamacare as part of their core campaign strategy. >> yeah, but they're doing -- i agree with perry, they're doing it on the mislead -- they're doing it on mcconnell's character. they don't want to defend obamacare point by point. >> it's interesting, they're getting personal with him and the republicans are getting personal with obama but not with allison lundergan grimes. as she put it beautifully, this is between me and you, mitch. thank you, howard, the best line anywhere in the country. this is between you and me. howard, perry, thanks again. where's the outrage over the horrible murder of a pakistani woman stoned to death by her own family, including her father, because she wouldn't marry the guy her father wanted her to and married the guy she wanted to. killed her, right to her face. killed her, rocks, bricks and a noose to make sure her head stood still. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ shutter clicks ]
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here's a little palace intrigue from our own white house. president obama had lunch today with hillary clinton. the lunch wasn't on the president's official schedule, however. the press didn't know about it, and a white house official described it as informal and private after we found out about it. we'll be right back after this.
we're back. horrific treatment of women is a grim reality in places around the world like the country of pakistan, a u.s. ally. on tuesday a horrible incident took place that's getting surprisingly little attention, however. a pregnant woman was murdered on her way to a busy pakistani courthouse where she was to take part in a fight with her family over a man she chose to marry. as the 25-year-old woman approached the main entrance of the courthouse she was greeted by her father, her brothers and other family members who tried to pull her away. when she resisted them, her own family stoned her to death in broad daylight as many others, including men, looked on. the woman was killed because of her choice not to accept a
marriage arranged by her family, as is the custom in much of pakistan. the woman's father told the police, "i killed my daughter and she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent and have no regret over it." well, the worst part is this is hardly an isolated incident. according to independent watchdog group the human rights commission of pakistan, nearly 900 women were murdered in that country in these so-called honor killings in 2013 alone. that's just last year alone. so where's the outrage toward pakistan? bobby ghosh is with "time" magazine. and irshad manji is the author of "allah liberty and love." most westerners, i'm not going to say they're better morally than people in the east. but on this point, they can't imagine stoning their daughter with bricks and having her brother hold her in a noose while the rest of the family destroyed her face and killed her because she disagreed with their marital decision. not even a case of what you even call a moral issue. not even something you could imagine putting turpitude attached to it.
simply ritual rule of the male over the female. >> yeah. and you know, it's not just americans or non-muslims who cannot conceive of something like this. i as a muslim am outraged. and it is unconscionable, chris -- >> is this islamic law or is it tribal rule? >> it is tribal rule. it is tribal rule. look, i'm a muslim. i know that there is nothing, absolutely nothing in the koran about stoning women. i also have half my family who comes from the border of india and pakistan. i know how strong and smart the women of that part of the world are. and chris, women deserve better. all human beings deserve better. >> let me go to bobby ghosh and i'll come back to earshot. what do you make of the guys who sit around and watch this thing, they did nothing? >> it is part of the tribal culture. most of the people in her family had come in from the tribes. they didn't live in the city. one of the most shocking aspects
of this is that apparently some policemen were within -- were able to see this take place and did not intervene. if there is any good news to be drawn from this, it is that if judging by the response in pakistan, this has gotten a lot of attention, that activists have seized this case of course and drawn attention to this very serious problem. 900 women a year being killed like this. on social media it has gotten a lot of attention as well. the behavior of her family is despicable. >> let's just try to figure out the gender aspect of this. there's a guy in that country, that tribe, decides to marry the wrong woman, the wrong girl. does he get stoned? >> no, he does not. and here's the interesting part. things are getting more murky with this case. the afp and some other sources are reporting today that her husband has admitted to killing his first wife -- >> i know. >> -- in order to marry her. she is the only real victim here, it would appear. and this comes from a culture where women are terribly undervalued, are not regarded as
capable of bringing honor to their family. they're only considered as capable of dishonoring their family. this is very much in sort of tribal rule, rural, semi-educated or uneducated communities. it happens less often but it does happen occasionally in cities and among more educated families. >> on that point, irshad, the husband to be, who is now a widower already, is not going to be around with this wife but killed a previous wife and said so. which is strange enough. how do you put all this together? i don't think they're necessarily related, these two horrors, but how do you put it together? >> well, you know, like you said, chris, these things are called honor killings, although they are highly dishonorable -- >> well, how does he get away with killing his first wife? what was the honor in that? let's start with that crime. >> i simply don't know enough about that situation if it is even true to be able to comment with any kind of, you know, credibility on this. but let me offer some good news if i may. while there's no real good news that i can see in any of this
situation, just this past week "the new york times" reported that in afghanistan a woman set fire to her husband because he let a neighbor rape her. now, i'd like to think of myself as a non-violent person, but i must tell you that a woman fighting back to claim her rights as a human being makes me cheer. >> what do you think of that story, bobby? >> well, there are hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of stories of women standing up for themselves in pakistan, afghanistan, in india. it is true that those stories don't get enough attention, but it is tragedies like this that focus all of our attention. >> our problem in the west is we don't pay enough attention to the whole culture in the east except when there's this disastrous moral situation. >> that's exactly right. >> so cheer for the afghani woman. >> i agree. anyway, thank you, irshad manji. thank you. and bobby ghosh of "time." we'll be back after this.
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trwith secure wifie for your business. it also comes with public wifi for your customers. not so with internet from the phone company. i would email the phone company to inquire as to why they have shortchanged these customers. but that would require wifi. switch to comcast business internet and get two wifi networks included. comcast business built for business. let me finish tonight with this. the stoning of a woman with her head in the noose at the time, the public murder of a woman by her relatives, by a brother, and incredibly by a father. honor killings, these are called. herererere we? we are allied with a country in which this goes on, goes on at no real risk to the killers themselves apparently. to the father who kills his daughter because she disobeys, because she marries someone he opposes her marrying. refuses to marry whom the father
dictate that she marry. well, this is going to be a tough thing for the american people to accept. it should be. i hope it will never, ever be something we can imagine, much less accept. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening. from new york, i'm chris hayes. the political scandal surrounding the department of veterans ars got more intense today while the underlying issues remain stubbornly unresolved and frankly underdiscussed and poorly understood. we will explain that in a bit. first the news. in the wake of an interim watchdog report finding systemic problems at va health care facilities, which included evidence that administrators at the va hospital in phoenix altered internal records to hide the excessive wait times faced by 1,700 veterans seeking a primary care appointment, there are mounting bipartisan calls for the secretary of veterans affairs, eric shinseki, to resign.